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  Publicity Stills of "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky and Bobby"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, David Koechner, Leslie Bibb, Sascha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jane Lynch
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 12 October 2006


An action comedy set at the renown Talladega Super speedway-racing track in Alabama.

Movie Review:

After half an hour into this 104-minute comedy, this reviewer began to worry. People around him were howling in laughter every five minutes or so - while he can barely chuckle at what he sees on screen. Has he lost his sense of humour? Or has he turned into one of those prudes who turn their noses up high when they come across no-brainer comedies like this?

Thankfully, by the end of the movie, it was realized that those initial fears were uncalled for. The latest Will Ferrell vehicle is stupid as is stupid does, and was probably made with that objective. Hence, we shall leave it up to viewers to decide whether this genre of comedy has the power to liven up their boring weekend afternoons.

Ferrell plays the titular character Ricky Bobby, who was a NASCAR favourite before meeting with an accident on the race tracks. With or without the support of his friends and family, he realizes he must overcome all odds himself to beat the obnoxious Formula One French driver Jean Girard.

Sounds like a normal inspiring story of a man fighting his own demons? You should have known better when you saw Ferrell’s face plastered on the movie poster. A glance at the funnyman’s filmography does not exactly bring to mind the word “inspiring”.

There was a time when John C. Reilly (who plays Ferrell’s best friend) dabbled with serious roles in films like The Hours (2002) and The Aviator (2004). There was also a time when Michael Clarke Duncan (who plays Ferrell’s track manager) played grave roles in films like The Green Mile (1999) and Planet of the Apes (2001).

Never mind all the award-winning credentials the abovementioned actors have accumulated, this movie’s real stars are Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen (more commonly known as Ali G), who plays the openly gay French competitor. The duo displays such sparking chemistry that our friends at the censorship board had to cut one scene to pass it for a lower PG rating.

Couple that with Adam McKay (Ferrell’s director for his breakout hit Anchorman) in the director’s chair, and you won’t be exactly expecting intelligent humour from the movie.

The jokes in this movie are offbeat and wacky, and come straight at your face at the most unexpected timings. They are so gleefully stupid and illogical; you’d be at least chuckling a little if you are not already laughing out loud.

At least, that is what happened to this reviewer.

Since NASCAR is a distinct American culture, some of the jokes may be lost on local audiences. And some gags do get repetitive sometimes. Of course, you can disregard that statement if you enjoy an almost naked Ferrell running around thinking that he is on fire – twice.

But hey, the entire cast did look like they had fun shooting this movie, so if you are willing to excuse this sour plum of a reviewer, please go ahead and laugh yourself silly with this movie. You probably deserve it after a stressful week at work.

Movie Rating:

(The movie is ridiculously silly and crudely funny – and is probably proud of it)

Review by John Li

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